What's the perfect number of books? Personally, I think it's exactly the amount you can cram into a house without sending any one floor crashing into the one below. I am not generally acquisitive; I can window-shop for ages, and leave stores without buying anything. Part of this is frugality, part is a deep horror of adding more possessions to my limited space. But this admirable self-control stems also from the unavoidable fact that much of that space is already filled with books. Books, most awkward and filthy of possessions, are my weakness.
And this weekend, I managed to add more, mostly nonfiction of the large and somewhat moldering variety. W. Menzendorf's Kavalkade, which is in German and of which I can understand exactly three words: "Hans," "Winkler," and "Halla." A strange, small Scholastic edition of Son Of The Black Stallion, in which Satan has a very odd look in his eye. I don't believe I've ever seen any Farley book put out in the smaller format. The Horseman's Bible by Jack Coggin, which I recall with great fondness, the sort of book which shows you exactly how to put on a bridle. Creative Horsemanship by Charles de Kunffy, a 1978 printing, which will go straight into my stack of books which I should read, and will do directly I finish both my sensible, balanced dinner and my core-strengthening exercise. Riding The International Way. Successful Show-Jumping by Daphne Machin Goodall. Show Jumper by Dorian Williams. Ruffian by Edward Claflin. And, most fun of all from the perspective of a pony book fan, Horsemanship For Beginners by Jean Slaughter, who as Jean Slaughter Doty would go on to write some of the very best American horse books - Summer Pony, The Crumb, The Monday Horses.
There will need to be evictions. There will need to be shuffling. But not until the heat breaks. Until then, I will huddle beside the air conditioner and read.